Factory closed after labour unrest

RISHRA (HOOGHLY): Memories of militant trade unionism of the 1970s and 80s came alive on Tuesday as labour unrest at a Rishra factory led to its closure, leaving the future of 2,000 workers uncertain.

The management of the Hindustan National Glass Industries Limited issued the suspension of work for an indefinite period after violence erupted on the factory premises over a wage revision demand for casual workers.

While permanent labourers receive a daily wage of Rs 164, casual labourers receive Rs 104 for the same job. Protesting against the company’s anti-labour policies, SUCI’s trade-union wing, UTUC, triggered the violence. “They pelted stones at police personnel on duty and tried to force their way into the factory. Once they gained entry, they went on the rampage, damaging office furniture and machines. This is something we can never accept,” said Serampore SDPO Konkon Prasad Barui.

Barui said that two SUCI leaders had met him and promised a peaceful agitation, but after they managed to gain entry they just went berserk.

However, SUCI leader Santosh Bhattcharjee said, “It is pointless to put the blame squarely on SUCI. There were other trade unions like INTUC and CITU in the agitation. Moreover, we were far away from the factory. It is a blatant lie that we engineered any vandalism.”

On Sunday, some labourers had assaulted company’s senior manager Ajay Majumdar, after which the management lodged an FIR against 31 labourers and issued a notice prohibiting their entry into the factory run by the Somani group.

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